Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It is Hard to be a Catholic

I will be 49 in a few months.  Seems like I just received my first communion yesterday.  In fact, I still have my 70's inspired communion dress hanging in my closet.  I am a cradle catholic.  I am a cradle, questioning, trying to be good, catholic.

Oh, but it's hard.

It's hard for so many reasons.  And not in any particular order, but the first that comes to mind is the churches stand on female priests.  Yup, I know both sides of the argument but fundamentally for me it is simple.  I was called.  I felt a clear, persistent calling as a teenager but couldn't follow because I was catholic.  It is also difficult to tell your daughters you can be anything you want except the most respected job of your religion because of your sex.  Your gender.  The one thing you can't change.  It is also hard because when you talk to the parish priest about they think - they say that it just doesn't feel right if there isn't a man on the alter.  Huh.

It is really hard to be Catholic.

I live with a small measure of guilt if I don't attend mass on Sunday or the required holy days.  I see my first grade teacher, Sister Ann, drilling those days into my small, pliable mind.  Yet, here I am, not of the retirement-get-of jail-free-age but truly struggling with pain and I just feel guilty.  It's only an hour.  And I sometimes get something out of it.  But the work to go is so hard.  The pain to sit on that bench and loose the feeling in my leg.  Ugh.  The guilt because I know it is only an excuse as I stare at the man who died on the cross.

It is really hard to be Catholic.

I endured the joy and eventual disappoint in Pope John Paul II.  Yes, this may anger quite of few people but I expected more when he became Pope.  I expected radical and sweeping change.  I know I was of an age when you want everything to move quickly and why shouldn't it, says your 20-year-old self.  Realistically, now, I know that change in the Catholic church is like dancing with an elephant.  I was disheartened when the next guy came in.  He looked so ghoulish and hard. Yet, now I am cautiously optimistic.  Maybe, there will be some change.  Or the beginning of change.

I am also trying hard to find a Pollyanna way to end this essay.  Not sure how.  Only that I am still Catholic.  It is hard to be Catholic.

Perhaps that is the point.

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